And now a word from Mark Tewksbury

by Aaron Wherry

Since he has become, if indirectly, part of this unfolding discussion, I asked Mark Tewksbury if he might have something to add. Last night, he emailed along the following.

“As proud as I am to be recognized as a gay and lesbian advocate (I believe under the sport section), I am hardly representative of the vast diversity of the LGBT community, or the decades of brave work that has led to the advancement of our human rights.  A reference to a sporting champion who is gay does nothing to honour the enormous work that has been done to make Canada a global leader in the advancement of equality for LGBT people, or the milestones that led us here over the past several decades.

“With dozens of countries in the world still punishing gays and lesbians with life in prison or execution, the fact that Canada recognizes same sex marriages and protects against sexual orientation is a reason why many gays and lesbians would apply for citizenship to this country.  Why would the government withdraw information in the citizenship guide that would directly benefit new Canadians who are gay or lesbian?  For me, it smacks of revisionist history.  The Government of Canada is representative of Canadian people, and the minister in question (or his office) is not acting in accordance. Individuals in power deciding to eliminate a targeted group, whomever that group may be, has dangerous precedence.  Being cut out of the story, literally, reminds me just how easy it is to have advances stripped away.”




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And now a word from Mark Tewksbury

  1. Well said!

  2. This whole affair could be radically put into perspective if one brave journalist would address the elephant in the room.

    • which is?

      • Well, you see, sometimes one pachyderm and another pachyderm, they like each other, but really like each other, and yet for electoral reasons one of the pachyderms has to stand around in the room not trumpeting or drawing attention to his pachydermitude, this being a fallen world.

        • . . . just enjoying his Manhattan. etc.

          LOFL

          However, now you have me pondering if there is a pachyderm in the riding of Calgary West that is also being protected because it is an endangered species?

        • You owe me a keyboard.

    • I don't see how the elephant changes anything. I would love to know how the elephant really feels about this sort of thing, but I'm not sure I see how acknowledging the elephant would put anything into any greater perspective. Especially given that everyone in the country who'd remotely care already knows about the elephant.

    • I think that we need to assume that Jason Kenny can be included in a well accepted stat of one in ten, perhaps he is one.

    • Well enough for someone who is not a professional writer. I noticed a couple areas that would be touched by the editing pen.

      • Which is probably fewer than would be touched on the work of a professional writer.

      • I hesitate to even mention it, as I don't want to dilute Tewksbury's broadly correct points, but I found this typo/error unfortunate: "Canada… protects against sexual orientation". How does one "protect against sexual orientation"?

        Is there a program I'm unaware of designed to make us all asexual? I guess I wouldn't put that past some Tories.

        • The Neutered for Canada! Action Plan is aimed at helping the families of Liberal and NDP voters — it was created during prorogation, at the same time they rammed through the new security scan regs at airports.

          • Ah. I heard "re-calibrate" when what he said was "reorientate"? That explains so much.

  3. "The Government of Canada is representative of Canadian people"

    Well, no. Not really. But you're right, Mark – in an ideal world, it should be.

    • Think about that. Think about the people you know, or the strangers you run into in day to day life. Lot of them, not so bright, right? Lot of them wouldn't have the first clue what to do if they had any responsibility.

      The current batch of MPs may not be great, but they are probably better suited to do this job than a true representation of Canada.

      • I don't think you give individuals enough credit. I also don't think that the current batch of MPs well enough reflects the wealth of talent and culture that we have in this country.

  4. "Individuals in power deciding to eliminate a targeted group, whomever that group may be, has dangerous precedence. Being cut out of the story, literally, reminds me just how easy it is to have advances stripped away.”

    Tewksbury started out well talking about how barbaric some countries/cultures can be but then quickly losses the plot. Not mentioning gay marriage in citizen guide should not be described as eliminating targeted group because that's ridiculous, especially since Tewksbury seems to be aware of what's going on abroad. Tewksbury seems to be aware that Canada is one of most friendly, tolerant places on earth so it's unfortunate about his persecution paranoia.

    • Not to be antagonistic, but I'm pretty sure Tewksbury isn't impressed with either friendliness or tolerance. If that was the standard than this would be fine.

      Tolerance and friendliness is what Sarah Palin has for Tewksbury.

      • Good point. Does anybody just want to be tolerated?

        • It seems it's good enough for Harper for the last 4 years or so.

    • However, is the point not that the citizenship guide is an ideal place to highlight the differences between Canada and those more barbaric countries and cultures, and to let people coming to Canada from those places know that such behaviour is not tolerated here?

      Canada is absolutely one of the most friendly and tolerant place on Earth, but it won't just stay that way through the force of nature. We openly accept refugees and other citizenship candidates from many places where homosexuals are horribly repressed, even killed, for who they are. Given that fact, I don't think leaving a bullet or two about Canada's stand regarding homosexuality in a guide to newcomers is such a bad idea. If the Minister and his team feel it's necessary to warn perspective newcomers that honour killings and genital mutilation are not acceptable in Canada, I see no reason not to include the more widespread practices of discrimination and violence against homosexuals around the world as worthy of mention as an unacceptable practice in Canada.

    • Yet.

      Talk to Gerry Ritz about what happens when Harper gets his majority.

      • Bingo. Not-so-hidden agenda = no majority soup for Harper!

    • Are you kidding? What about the 2006 vote to strip away gay marriage, which only failed because the Conservatives lacked a majority? Harper later said the issue is closed – but he has the power to reopen it any time he likes, at his sole discretion.

      You're really tone deaf about the precariousness of the rights of minorities.

      P.S. Tewksbury is always a class act.

    • Jolyon: I always assumed that we tolerate pain like a toothache when we have to study for an exam, or when we do not have enough money to go to the dentist, but really should a gay person have to subjected to tolerance in being considered your equal.

    • "Canada, one of the most friendly, tolerant places on Earth."

      Unless you're gay. Do you know the stats on violence against the GLBTT community? No? I didn't think so.

  5. Some new news! With the pamphlet done, Kenney has been seconded to oversee the revamping of the government website. Apparently the entire Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Communitites will be missing in the new version. Also various photos of Mrs. Harper attending events are being redacted with unexplained gaps to her left.

    • LOL

      OK, I generally think we dwell on that topic too much around here (especially lately), but that was funny.

  6. Governments have to prioritize.

    It's a more important to hector new immigrants that they are not allowed to mutilate anyone's genitals, except in a licensed sex club and then only in pretend (though circumcision is okay because everyone does it and we're cool with that).

    New Immigrants also have to be instructed to not make fun of cubby white guys from the Calgary suburbs.

    As for gay and lesbian rights:

    it is enough to let new immigrants know that homosexuals in Canada can grow up to be Olympic swimmers.

    The bottom line is:

    Muslims don't vote conservative – but the people who hate Muslims do.

  7. I wonder which straight person Wherry will chose to represent the heterosexual opinion.

    • Tewksbury is the only gay person featured in the new immigration guide. After it came to light that that someone had edited out any mention of gay marriage in the final draft, Tewksbury was used by the government to justify that editorial decision. It makes perfect sense to seek out his opinion.

      But I see your point – straight people are such a tiny and oppressed minority, it's discriminatory that Wherry didn't name a designated straight person to provide an opposing view…..lol

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